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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 24, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 26
NOM hired gun back in town

Chris Plante was spokesman for campaigns against marriage equality
Section One
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NOM hired gun back in town

Chris Plante was spokesman for campaigns against marriage equality

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Veteran anti-LGBT operative Chris Plante is back in Washington state to work on I-1515, the initiative that seeks to bar Transgender residents from gender-appropriate restrooms.

Plante, who is now on retainer for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), was last in Washington in 2012, working for Preserve Marriage Washington in its failed effort to prevent marriage equality.

According to a statement from Plante to The Stranger, he was asked by Just Want Privacy - the ironically named group pushing I-1515 - to help energize their petition campaign.

I-1515 is reportedly substantially short of the approximately 246,000 signatures it needs to qualify for the November ballot. The campaign itself has committed to getting 325,000 names to ensure they will have at least the required number.

In his past incarnations, Plante was executive director of NOM Rhode Island, where he successfully bullied state legislators into blocking a marriage equality bill that most of them had committed to vote for.

After his win there, NOM sent him to other states: New Hampshire, Minnesota, and now Washington.

As a NOM operative, Plante was the architect of a wedge strategy seeking to divide the LGBT and African-American communities by recruiting fringe African-American pastors to denounce same-sex relationships as satanic. The hope was that LGBT spokespeople would then respond in kind and attack African-Americans as bigots.

Plante's strategy failed - the NAACP endorsed marriage equality and most African-American churches stayed out of the fight - but Plante's divisive tactics introduced new nastiness into NOM's politics.

Plante also pioneered the tactic of fear-mongering around children, now being used by the I-1515 campaign. Same-sex couples raising children, Plante once warned, would 'turn children into little teacup dogs - it's an accessory to put in my purse.'

Anti-Trans forces have until July 8 to submit enough petitions to qualify I-1515 for the ballot. According to their website, they currently have only 43,241 names.

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